Prep softball: Oaks claims redemption, leads Hoover past Wayne
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Herbert Hoover was heartbroken to see its 14-game winning streak and season come to an end last year to Wayne in the Class AA Region 4 softball championship.
The Huskies fell behind for good in that game when a throwing error from first baseman Amber Oaks allowed the Pioneers to score the go-ahead run in the fifth inning.
Wayne would go on to claim the Class AA championship and Hoover would be left with a bunch of what ifs.
While not as much was on the line, Hoover was able to get a bit of revenge on Wednesday night, claiming a 3-2 home win over Wayne in a battle of ranked teams at Michael D. Chandler Field.
For the top-ranked Huskies (9-2), it was the second victory over the No. 3 Pioneers (9-4) after a 2-1 road win on March 23.
"This win is huge, especially after last year losing to them in the regional final," Oaks said. "To win this game feels awesome. We can't get too cocky, though, especially when it matters the most."
With the game tied at 2-2, Oaks was able to deliver the go-ahead run for the Huskies in the fifth inning on a RBI groundout to second base to score McKenzie Edmonds.
The Huskies senior felt a bit of satisfaction in helping her team earn the victory, considering it was her error on the same field last season that helped end Hoover's season.
"Personally it was my error last season," Oaks said. "It feels great for me. I am excited to help the team in any way I can. If it was anyone else making the game-winning RBI, I'd be just as happy."
Oaks is using the mistake from last season as added motivation this season.
"I'm trying to make corrections and not to make those same errors," Oaks said. "My batting average was low last year but it's coming up this year. It feels amazing."
Hoover Coach Missy Smith couldn't be happier for Oaks, after what she and the team went through last season.
"Everybody knows what happened last year," Smith said. "We are just building off of it. Anytime a kid makes an error and can step up later, it sweetens the deal a little bit."
It looked as though Hoover might suffer a case of deja vu Wednesday night after giving up two unearned runs on two errors in the first to fall behind 2-0.
However, the Huskies were able to regroup, coming back to tie the game on a two-out, two-run single from Zoey Carte in the third and then getting the game-winner from Oaks in the fifth.
"It would have been very easy to give up and been done tonight," Smith said. "They responded with guts and heart, which is exactly what you like to see as a coach. I couldn't have scripted it better."
With what happened last year between the two teams in the regional final, and the fact that both are ranked in the top three in Class AA, a new rivalry seems to have been formed between Hoover and Wayne.
"It's a great rivalry," Wayne Coach Tish Smith said. "I don't care when it is, what time of the year it is, or how good we are doing, it's going to be an all out, balls to the wall game every time."